When Benedict Cumberbatch was cast in the MCU as Doctor Strange a few years back, fans of the actor were ecstatic as it meant that he would eventually share the screen with Robert Downey Jr., which would mean two Sherlock Holmes actors for the price of one. This meeting of the Great Detectives finally happened in Avengers: Infinity War but, as it turned out, there was no reference to the fact that the film features two Sherlockian stars.
The answer why, it seems, is because so many viewers were expecting some sort of quip about the Holmes connection. Joe and Anthony Russo confirmed to CBR that the reason there was no Sherlock joke was because it would have been “too obvious.” We can’t say we blame them for thinking that. The chances are that if, say, Tony Stark said “No sh*t, Sherlock” to Stephen Strange at one point, then it might have elicited groans rather than laughs.
That being said, we can understand why Sherlock Holmes fans might have wanted a line like that. There are a surprising number of crossovers with Marvel, after all – it’s not just Downey Jr. and Cumberbatch.
For instance, before she played the titular character’s girlfriend in Doctor Strange, Rachel McAdams was RDJ’s love interest Irene Adler in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes. Furthermore, both of the two Holmes’ Watsons are also part of the MCU. Martin Freeman has played Everett Ross since Captain America: Civil War and Jude Law is set to appear in Captain Marvel.
Cumberbatch recently touched on how he felt about teaming up with another Sherlock Holmes in Avengers: Infinity War and explained that he didn’t think it was too surprising, as the character is such a popular one that two actors who’ve both played the part were bound to appear in something else together eventually.
“It’s just weird, but not so much with Sherlock because… it’s the most performed fictional character ever, so it’s no surprise that in the small pool of those of us lucky enough to play that role we’re going to crossover at some point.”
Well, when you put it like that, Benedict, the whole thing seems kind of… elementary.